In celebration of International Women’s Week, the Modern Languages Department gave a presentation about inspirational women from France, Germany and Spain.
Sam S (School House) who is studying Spanish at A Level, spoke about Clara Campoamor, one of the most influential activists for women’s suffrage in Spain. She was the first woman to defend a case in the Spanish high court and helped to set up the International Federation of Female Lawyers. Clara also gained a seat in the constituent assembly in 1931. In this assembly, she pushed hard to gain the female vote. As a direct result of her work, Spanish women were able to vote in 1933. Overall, she had a huge impact on women’s rights in Spain.
Katya Y (Weymouth House) is doing French A Level and spoke about Simone Veil – a holocaust survivor, French politician and pioneer of women’s rights. She became the first female president of the European Parliament and legalised abortion in France in 1975. Three days before this law was passed, she endured a torrent of abuse and insults from other members of the National Assembly after her hour-long address. The proposition was deemed ‘monstrous’, but Veil stood firm in defending women’s rights.
Finally, Giacomo H (Cedars House), who is studying German at A Level, spoke about Professor Ozlem Tureci who was born in Germany and is the daughter of Turkish immigrants. She is a scientist, physician, entrepreneur and leader in global health.
Professor Ozlem is the co-founder of the biotech company BioNTech. Using RNA technology – which her company had been working on for many years, they were able to develop a Covid 19 vaccine in less than a year, and this hastened the end of the pandemic. Today, BioNTech is continuing to work on researching cancer. The company has 1,300 employees, is made up of 54% female workers and half of the top management team are women.